CAP now part of Hospice

SPRUCE PINE – The Mitchell County Community Alternative Program, or CAP, on Nov. 1 officially became part of Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge. 

The transition occurred after the Mitchell County Board of Commissioners determined Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge was one of the more qualified healthcare entities to ensure the delivery of quality care services for CAP in Mitchell County.

“When we took DSS over as commissioners, we had the number of foster kids, which was like 90 or so, CAP was not a core business of DSS,” said Keith Holtsclaw, former Mitchell County Commissioner. “CAP was placed in DSS because at one point in time that seemed like the more obvious place for it given the circumstances in 1990. It’s been there a long time, and as part of that, from a continuum of care standpoint, it sure made a whole lot of sense to find a partner that was in this realm and Hospice fit that criteria. It’s a good match. It’s a better match than it was. And, these guys have been very fortunate because (former DSS director) Paula Holtsclaw’s first love was CAP and she ran that program for years, and they have been able to entice Paula to come with CAP, so the consistency and continuity for the patients are absolutely wonderful.”

Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge CEO Christina Jenkins said taking over CAP has created a “good continuum of care.”

“We have not had any break in the services provided to CAP clients, and that’s what we wanted, no disruption in care or the services rendered to them,” she said. “Our whole goal is to keep caring for people in their homes and keep them in their homes, and that’s just like hospice’s goal.” 

CAP is funded by Medicaid and Medicare, and none of the program’s 68 employees lost their jobs as a result of the transition, including case managers and in-home aides.

CAP is North Carolina Medicaid’s home and community-based services waiver program. In this program, low-income, disabled state residents have an alternative to nursing home placement. Program participants remain in their private residences or receive care in the home of a friend or family. The program also covers the cost of minor home adaptations that increase the independence or safety of the program participant.

“When we were asked to take over CAP, we graciously said absolutely yes, that this will be a beautiful program,” Jenkins said. “Keeping CAP with an entity such as hospice that would keep the program as it is currently existing and retain the employees makes total sense.” 

Mitchell County Manager Kathy Young said moving the program was a smooth transition.

“Clients not having to get used to different workers was a big key for us,” she said. “It’s always good to find win-win scenarios, and that’s what this turned out to be.”

Hospice has worked cooperatively with the CAP program for many years, so it was a program Hospice was familiar with as far as services offered. 

“There was a great working relationship before, and now that it’s a division of Hospice, it worked out beautifully,” Jenkins said. “Paula Holtsclaw is invaluable running CAP because of her knowledge and experience with the program. She has said that’s her first love. She and the staff have acclimated well with the transition, and we have not had to do a lot of orientation as a result.” 

CAP is not a moneymaker for hospice, but it is a self-sustaining program when operated correctly can be a core business.

“Moving it to hospice has allowed it to have more focus and attention given to it, which I think will make it shine like the great program it is,” Jenkins said. “As a nonprofit, we are used to breaking even, so the fact it is not a moneymaker did not scare us. When we do have a surplus, it goes back into patient care.”


The MItchell News

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